Wisconsin isn’t a popular site for reality

I wish we could vaccinate some people with a heavy dose of reality.

The state next to mine, Wisconsin, has gone insane. The raging anti-vax hysteria

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature on Wednesday voted to stop Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration from requiring seventh graders to be vaccinated against meningitis.

The state Senate and Assembly, with all Republicans in support and Democrats against, voted to block the proposal. There is no current meningitis vaccination requirement for Wisconsin students.

The Legislature’s vote also makes it easier for parents to get an exemption from a chicken pox vaccine requirement that is in place for all K-6 students. Evers’ administration wanted to require parents seeking a chicken pox vaccination exemption to provide proof that their child has previously been infected.

WHY? These are well-established, safe vaccines against terrible diseases. They work. But somehow, Republicans have got it in their heads that reasonable evidence-based medicine is bad.

This is getting personal, too. My daughter and son-in-law and my little 4 year old granddaughter all live in Wisconsin, and she’ll be attending Wisconsin public schools in a year. I don’t want her to get chicken pox or meningitis. Of course, I trust her parents to get her vaccinated even in the absence of a public health requirement — it’s all the other kids we have to worry about.


  1. wzrd1 says

    Honestly, I’m just waiting for Republicans to all join together and demand the reintroduction of smallpox.

  2. says

    Because something something medical free-dumb. Too many ignorant dipshidiots in this state and far too many Trumpers. I love this state but some of the residents leave a lot to be desired.

  3. says

    wzrd1@1 yeah, it was the threat of dying of smallpox that made the Founding Fathers the great men they were. There can be no other answer.

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    It used to be that the only people on the Right who were anti-vaxx where the libertarians who “t’weren’t gonna let them thar socialist doctors put their poison in them” or Bible-fuckers who think medicine is some diabolical thwarting of their Gawd’s divine will. Now it seems that those very delusions have taken hold of the Republican Asylum and we’re all going to suffer for allowing them any sort of political power.

  5. kome says

    And yet, no doubt the media will continue to present anti-vax attitudes as an example of the left being anti-science. You know, “both sides do it” and all that nonsense.

  6. anxionnat says

    Sometimes some people have to learn things the hard way. My mom never forgot a classmate of hers being sick with whooping cough (this would have been when she was in first grade, in 1920-21) and described her friend’s horrible struggles to breathe. She never forgot her teachers’ college classmate who had survived smallpox, and who could never get a job because of the horrible scars on her face. I will never, ever forget when my older brother had chicken pox in the late 1950s. He has a severe mental disability so “don’t scratch” meant nothing to him. My parents had to tie his arms and legs to his bed. To this day, I have nightmares about his screaming like a dying animal, which went on for days. I could go on at some length. Memories like that are big reasons why people like me are eager to do everything we can to never go through it again. Some people are just stupid, however, refuse to listen, and have to learn things the hard way. The true horror is that they sometimes take innocent people, like their children, down with them.

  7. raven says

    Around 2014, we had an outbreak of whooping cough.
    A lot of adults and infants got sick and some died of it.

    It got into our local elementary school.
    A few kids got it, gave it to a few adults and also some infants too young to vaccinate.
    Whooping cough can make babies very sick for a long time and sometimes kills them.

    The school had had enough.
    They sent all the unvaccinated kids home and told them they could come back when the outbreak was over. Or they could get vaccinated and come back.
    The parents were using the schools as day care and just went out and got their kids vaccinated and sent them back. Or who knows, maybe they didn’t want to get whooping cough themselves.

  8. microraptor says

    In other Wisconsin news, line-item vetoes are horrible and should be eliminated from all levels of government but the way that the Wisconsin governor just used one to fund Wisconsin pubic schools for the next 400 years was funny.

  9. raven says

    Sometimes some people have to learn things the hard way.

    I grew up near the end of polio.
    At the time, that was the big fear of everyone.

    .1. A lot of adults around us limped in various ways.
    We all knew why. Polio.
    .2. In the second grade, one morning the play ground was in an uproar. One of our classmates had died. The word went around. Polio.
    At that age, that people our age actually died was something that had never occurred to us.
    .3. We also saw and heard about people being put in iron lungs to breathe for them. It was considered a dismal fate to be avoided.
    There might actually still be a few people left from that era, living in iron lungs.
    It’s been hard to keep them going since iron lungs aren’t made any more and spare parts are scarce.
    .4. I also saw one person die of post polio syndrome as an adult and long after he had contracted polio.

  10. Ada Christine says

    I grew up in Wisconsin. In the mid 00’s there was a meningitis outbreak among high school interscholastic wrestlers and my high school made it very clear that it wanted all students to be vaccinated and even offered free vaccines to everybody who needed them. I don’t have much love for my home state, but god damn how far it’s fallen.

  11. Doc Bill says

    @10 raven

    Same here. Fear of Polio was Number 1, ahead of Dracula, Nuclear war or an invasion of giant ants. The idea of ending up in an iron lung was terrifying. We had all seen documentaries of wards of iron lungs with kids using mouth sticks to paint pictures. Ghastly.

    A couple of kids in my elementary school had survived a mild case of polio that left them crippled. They wore these huge, stainless steel braces with leather straps and assisted their walking with crutches. Fear overcame what little empathy we had at that age and we generally avoided them. Yeah, an additional cruel hardship they didn’t deserve.

  12. Larry says

    Now I wouldn’t wish covid, polio, meningitis, or small pox on my worst enemy but when these conspiracy freaks who reject vaccination spew their ignorant rap, I struggle mightily to keep from changing that position. What I do care about is the danger they’re placing on their children and those around them. This anti-science, anti-medicine attitude these Qidiots have could lead to another black death scenario.

  13. Marissa van Eck says

    @PZ, it’s time for your children and grandchild to get the hell out of Wisconsin. Minnesota looks like a much more reasonable place, and I can also personally recommend Western NY believe it or not (I’m in Buffalo now and loving it). It’s time to acknowledge that the country has fractured internally and to run away from the craziest parts of it before they explode.

  14. wzrd1 says

    Arthur Clarke also died of post polio syndrome, after an extended period of increasing disability.

    I still have nightmares of small villages children being ravaged by a simultaneous polio and measles outbreak, which filled far too many tiny graves. So, I’ve precisely zero tolerance for antivax types.
    Who are the biggest hypocrites on the planet, as they’re also pushing the free market mantra, while also trying to deny it when it comes to “big pharma” with vaccines. Even less tolerance for the bible fuckers, who love to go on about how pharmacists and doctors are witches and medication is witchcraft.
    Although, one ig nobel prize winner was an ordained minister, who proclaimed all manner of things that were not even wrong. When he’d start on US history, I referred to him as Minister Fractured Fairy tales to his face, as he revised history in fascinating ways far beyond even lousy science fiction. Why, did you know that “their pulling prayer from schools got JFK shot”? He said so, apparently, Oswald, age 24 was so effected by the removal of prayer from his primary school, he shot the POTUS after a trip through a time machine!
    Or something.
    He regaled all how doctors and pharmacists are witches and medications are witchcraft – to a room full of men on psych medications and recovering addicts. The 12 step coach spent three weeks scrambling to unfuck that pooch, only for him to do it again.

    We do have case law backed solutions though, nice things like mandatory, if necessary via armed guard enforcing quarantines. Totally Constitutional, as Artlcle 1, Section 8 ensures the welfare of a nation and by definition, the populace. Feel free to ask Mary Mallon about it.
    She hated the moniker Typhoid Mary and refused to accept modern medicine or believe in the germ theory of disease. Autopsy showed the bacteria was happily ensconced in her gallbladder, although given surgery options and outcomes of the time, I’d have declined butchery, erm, surgery as well.

  15. Allison says

    The problem isn’t that the unvaccinated will get sick. It’s that they will be a reservoir of the disease, infecting anyone who is infectable.

    Vaccines aren’t 100% effective, plus there are some people who for medical reasons can’t get vaccinated. But if nearly all of the population is vaccinated, the disease can’t get enough of a toehold to infect the ones who for whatever reason could get infected.

    That’s why vaccination, etc., is a public health measure, not just an individual health measure.

  16. Kagehi says

    Someone described the current Republican party as one that, to more or less paraphrase the sentiment, “No longer had policy or ideas, so all they have left is things to be against, and the claim that winning against these things will somehow magically fix the world.” I also seem to remember something about attributions, malice and stupidity, but not sure it its relevant.

  17. brightmoon says

    Measles crippled my adult cousin before I was born. She had to get a car with hand controls . I caught measles about age 5 (no vaccines then) and I still remember how utterly miserable it made me. You better believe I got my kids vaxxed with everything they had available.

  18. wzrd1 says

    The additional joy with measles is that one can contract Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) 7 – 10 years after recovering from infection and it’s 100% fatal. No treatment as of yet, obviously no cure and we still can’t get a bead on curing death.

    We got our children every vaccine they could require in the US and they tested the chickenpox vaccine.

    I did get german measles and mumps as a kid, as the vaccines against those was only introduced in 1967 and 1969. Also miserable times! Also had chickenpox, a few years ago, also had mild shingles and got the vaccine again after recovery to be sure it doesn’t darken my mood again.

    Republicans love children being born, then dying in expensive and needless ways.

  19. whheydt says

    Whooping cough (pertussis…the “P” in “TDAP”)… My mother had it at age 10 months. Her mother thought they were going to lose her. No vaccines for it 1913. During an outbreak in the Bay Area, I twisted my (and my wife’s) doctor to sign off on TDAP boosters because we were living in a 3-generation household that included an infant too young to be vaccinated against it. Took some effort to convince the doctor.

    Polio… When I was 6, one of the kids I played with had an iron lung in his room to sleep in. He was recovering…

    On RSV…. Apparently the FDA and CDC have approved a vaccine and it is supposed to be available this fall. The official word is that older adults (65+?) are advised to “consult with their physician” before getting the shot. As I have an appointment coming up later this month, I will be “consulting”. Since she’s sensible, I suspect I will get agreement that getting the shot will be a Good Idea.

    COVID… I’m up to 6 shots so far, and I expect another this fall. No idea if there will be a shot next spring or not.

    On vaccinations generally…. Best news of the year has been that, as of 1 Jan. all vaccinations are free of charge if you’re on Medicare.

  20. Paul K says

    I’ve had pertussis twice as an adult, even though I was vaccinated. It isn’t foolproof. But, because I was vaccinated, the symptoms — though no fun at all — were far milder than they otherwise would have been. My brother had it when he was a tiny (unvaccinated) child and we figured he was maybe going to die, it was so bad. I think, had he been old enough to grasp it, he probably would have wished he could die.

    I also live in Wisconsin, but grew up in Minnesota. It would be lovely to move back, and it’s only 20 miles away. But we cannot afford to do it, and this town has been our son’s home since he was three. We also now have a state supreme court and a governor who are progressive. If the governor can keep the crazies in line long enough, and the court can re-write our profoundly gerrymandered voting districts, I have a slim hope that we might be able to turn things around here. Without my family’s votes, that would be harder.

    And the governor’s line item veto giving schools the ability to know in advance what their funding will be for the next 402 years was good for a laugh, but if it can be kept in practice for even a few years, it will be of profound help to public schools across the state. I resigned from my position on our local school board recently (that’s a whole nother story, involving ‘grooming’ accusations of everyone on staff in a book challenge!), but it was always insane that we could not finalize a budget until just weeks before the beginning of the school year because the legislature played cat and mouse with funding decisions. How can you plan for long-term improvements with that kind of system?

  21. DLC says

    And then there are all those inconsiderate jerks who refuse to stop texting and driving. It’s not just you who’re at risk, but you’re risking my neck along with yours, without asking my permission first. Your kid’s safety is important but what about everyone else who could be harmed or killed by your refusal to get your kid vaccinated.

  22. DLC says

    Oh damn. . . I wasn’t trying to change the subject to texting and driving, but to draw an analogy to that unsafe practice. The previous lines in which I set up the analogy were unintentionally cut. I should have said : ” what these people don’t see is that not vaccinating does more than endanger their own children, but it places all others at risk as well. Consider those inconsiderate jerks who refuse to stop texting and driving. — etc.

  23. wzrd1 says

    That’s OK, valid relationship.
    I literally threw a work cell phone out the window into the Delaware River once, when the boss kept pestering me for the day’s numbers, while I was driving on the congested Commodore Barry Bridge, rather than waiting 10 minutes for me to reach the office.
    Got a replacement cell phone the next day, no apology, but no more pestering.
    Even my wife and children knew better than to try to call or text while I was driving.
    Hell, the Almighty knew, call or text me while driving, he’d get hell.

  24. whheydt says

    Re: wzrd1 @ #24…
    I simply won’t answer the phone when driving. If I have someone with me, I may hand them the phone, but I won’t answer it. Everybody in the family knows it. (Since I’m retired, no bosses in the picture.)

  25. John Morales says

    Mmm. You know, Catholics distinguish between sins of commission and sins of omission. Talking/texting while driving is akin to the former, whereas avoiding vaccinations is akin to the latter.

  26. wzrd1 says

    Operative being, both are sins. But, avoiding vaccination and by doing so, one transmits disease resulting in death can be considered a mortal sin.

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